If you were a millennial born in the 90s and early 2000s, you would remember the musical revolution that swept through India and its youth. Music, still intrinsically linked to the country’s film industry, suddenly exploded with independent artists and groups. Euphoria, Shaan, Alisha Chinai, Lucky Ali, Raageshwari and Silk Route are just a few of the names that have been broadcasting popular music, building on the success of MTV and Channel V. It is then that India has got her first all-female group, named VIVA.
Comprised of Seema Ramchandani, Pratichee Mohapatra, Neha Bhasin, Mahua Kamat and Anushka Manchanda, the group delivered youth hymns and style goals to the youth of a neoliberalized nation. Neha Bhasin, who has gone on to build a successful individual career ever since, had reunited with former band members for an impromptu online session. The singer also encourages body positivity both online and off with her empowering messages.
One of her recent Instagram posts read, “I was 49 kg in Viva and was really ashamed every day. I am 65kgs here. I gained weight in quarantine and never felt so sexy. Weight is a number you can change, but being ashamed of yourself is damaging and toxic. The sex appeal is not in the parts of your body. It’s in you.
Recently, the 38-year-old singer recalled her days as Viva and how she and the rest of the band signed a contract saying they couldn’t gain weight.
“When we started our career at Viva, our contract stipulated that we should not even gain a kilo more than our current weight. For us, fitness and appearance were very important. We were not allowed to go to the airport without makeup and heels. Back then, when we used to shoot for a month, our stylists would make a full package for us with details on everything, what to wear and what kind of makeup we’re going to do. We were trained to be a pop star where appearance and style were very important, ”said Neha.
But regardless of such experiences, singer “Akh Kashni” is only grateful that Viva happened. “I’m only grateful to have been a part of something so great. Even today, people are influenced, ”added the singer. The “Dil Diyaan Gallan” singer was speaking on the sidelines of the release of her special Valentine’s Day track “Taara”.
The song, produced and composed by Bhasin’s husband Sameer Uddin, is yet another moving number that has a Punjabi folk touch.
Speaking about his idea of reviving folk music through his singles, Bhasin said, “Today a lot of music is well packaged but the product is bad. I think it’s important for us as an artist to make great music and send it to people. When I was growing up I listened to so many amazing artists which made me who I am today. As an artist, you must be able to inspire a generation. The revival of folk music stems from the idea of doing something that you believe in, of doing something that touches people’s hearts.
Bhasin also reflected on how the singers, including herself, and the audience were not able to respect classical music as much. “Even I underestimated the power of classical music. In India, we don’t give much credit to our culture. Not just the music, but even the dance forms don’t get a lot of attention. So we can do a lot better in that aspect, that’s for sure, ”the singer concluded.
Note: The content and images used in this article is rewritten and sourced from indianexpress.com